Lea Michele Addresses 2020 Backlash From Glee Costars

Lea Michele, who was accused of using mistreatment and microaggressions by Glee cast members in 2020, shared why the past two years have been “so important.”

By Kelly Gilmore Feb 07, 2023 10:44 PMTags
Watch: Lea Michele Addresses 2020 Backlash From Glee Costars

Lea Michele isn't afraid to face the music.

More than two years after several of her former Glee co-stars accused her of exhibiting mean-spirited behavior on set, the actress touched on the online backlash and shared what she took away from the experience.

"I think these past two years have been so important for everybody to just sit back and reflect," she said in an Interview Magazine story on Feb. 7. "I did a lot of personal reach-outs. But the most important thing was for everybody to just take a step back."

Michele noted that those behind-the-scenes conversations were impactful in that she has learned to see the bigger picture.

"At the end of the day, what matters the most is how you make people feel and you have to put aside your feelings," she said. "The conversations that I've had behind the scenes with some people were incredibly healing and very eye-opening for me."

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Reflecting on her personal journey, the 36-year-old noted that she isn't looking to "blame anything on the things that I've been through in my life."

"But you also can't ignore those experiences or deny them," she continued. "They are a part of the patchwork of my life."

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Back in 2020, Samantha Marie Ware, who appeared on Glee as the role Jane Hayward, accused Michele of making her first television gig "a living hell."

"I believe you told everyone that if you had the opportunity you would 'sh-t in my wig!'" Ware wrote in a since-deleted June 2020 tweet, "amongst other traumatic microaggressions that made me question a career in Hollywood." 

A few days later, Glee star Heather Morris wrote on Twitter, "Was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out." 

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That same day, Michele penned a public apology."While I don't remember ever making this specific statement and I have never judged others by their background or color of their skin, that's not really the point," Michele wrote. "What matters is that I clearly acted in ways which hurt other people."

She continued, "Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused."

Now, Michele is hoping to make a fresh start. As she explained to Interview, her current role on Broadway's Funny Girl gives her the chance to "introduce people to who I am now." 

"More than anything, I'm so grateful to have this opportunity to apply the things that I've learned over the past ten-plus years in a positive way," she added. "What I told myself stepping into Funny Girl was, ‘If I can't take my role as a leader offstage as important as my role as a leader onstage, then I shouldn't do this show.' Because that was always a struggle for me."

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